How to Choose a Reputable Breeder
When you're looking for a purebred dog it's important to restrict your search to reputable breeders. Puppy mills, backyard breeders and pet stores should be avoided at all costs. An experienced breeder who invests time and effort into health checks and careful socialization will provide you with a dog that is in the best physical and mental health. If you can't afford the high prices of purchasing a dog from a breeder, there are plenty of dog shelters and rescue societies that have dogs of various breeds waiting for a good home.
Finding the right breeder
A breeder in the United States should be registered with the American Kennel Club and ideally, they’ll have experience in the dog sports and activities you are interested in pursuing. If you are keen to try your hand at conformation shows, they will be able to help you choose a suitable pup that is as close as possible to the breed standard. For those who are interested in obedience and agility training, they can explain the physical characteristics and personality traits you should look for in a dog. A good breeder will also offer you support and advice for the life of your dog, so you always feel you have someone to turn to if you need help.
Avoiding possible health problems
Every dog breed has its own set of potential health problems that can occur. Reputable breeders are well aware of these problems and do their best to breed only dogs that are in the best of health. For example, German Shepherd dogs are prone to hip or elbow dysplasia. Before breeding, a breeder will x-ray their males and females, to make sure they are sound, and to reduce the risk of these problems occurring in their offspring. Before you buy your new puppy, learn about the genetic problems prevalent in his breed and ask his breeder what health checks have been done on his parents.
Good breeding practices are followed
Unlike puppy mills, reputable breeders only allow a female dog to have a certain amount of puppies, with enough time between litters for her to fully recover. They also raise their puppies in a healthy environment, with good hygiene and ample opportunity for them to be well socialized.
For these reasons, puppy mills need to be avoided. The same holds true with backyard breeders and pet stores. Female dogs are often overbred leading to poor health, and their animals are kept in cramped and unclean conditions. Many times, the pups don’t meet other people until they are sold, which makes them anxious and unsettled when they go to their new homes.
You may find that buying a pup from a reputable breeder costs you a little more, but it’s fair to say that the initial purchase price is the cheapest part of owning a dog. When you add up the price of food, veterinary care, obedience training and behavioral advice and accessories over the years, you’ll agree that buying a healthy pup in the first place is a very wise investment.